"One Frenzied Weekend in Fes" on Matador Abroad

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | Fès, Morocco (map)

A cat perches on a cold, wet roof in the old city of Fes.
My post "Water, Water Everywhere, No Time to Stop and Think" has been re-published on the Matador Abroad travel site. The piece, which I consider one of my best from my time in Morocco, details the peculiar events of one very culturally enlightening weekend I spent in Fes, soon after my arrival in Fall 2008.

I sent in the piece several weeks ago in response to a call for submissions, and was happy to hear that it was published today, accompanied by several of my photos. While the editor added a new title ("One Frenzied Weekend in Fes") and shaved off my sly Casablanca reference in the last line, I'm very happy to see my writing reach a larger audience!

On the Highways of Abyssinia

Saturday, March 6, 2010 | Ethiopia (map)

Cattle herders walk the roadside near the town of Bahir Dar.
Amid the office towers of downtown Addis Ababa is a massive expanse of macadam—Meskel Square. The square, formed by the intersection of 12 boulevards, resembles a colossal mall parking lot, and is the heart of Ethiopia's highway network. From this hub, the country's roads extends outward in all directions, deteriorating gradually as they grow further from the capital. Paved roads peter out and dissolve—first to gravel, then to rutted dirt tracks.

Outside of Addis, many of these roads were too bumpy to allow for reading, much less writing. Snapping pictures or chatting occupied a few minutes, but mostly Jacqueline and I stared out the window, watching scenery for eight hours a day.

Comments from Yoseph, our tight-lipped driver, were sparse. (Once, as we drove past a dusty track forking to the left: "That is the road to Sudan." Another time, of the truck drivers careening past on

Spicy Fingers: Notes from an Ethiopian Eating Adventure

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Ethiopia (map)

The Ethiopian dish yedoro firfir is made with injera, chicken, hard-boiled egg, and lots of spices.
I first ate Ethiopian food when I was 14, during a class trip to a restaurant back home in Baltimore. In my memory, the food was peculiar but delicious. Injera, the purplish-grey spongebread with which the food was served, had a sour taste but I gobbled it up... and soon felt it expanding in my stomach, swelling with juices and making me feel ready to burst. (Admittedly, restraint is not my forté at the dinner table.)

Last month, having finally reached Ethiopia myself, I dove enthusiastically into an exploration of the local cuisine. Jacqueline followed timidly at first, but by the end of our trip had developed a healthy appreciation for her own favorite dishes (particularly bozena shiro, goat meat in a rich spicy sauce). What follows are some of my observations on the country's very unique food and drink.

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Almost without exception, we ate every meal in Ethiopia with injera. The ubiquitous spongy crêpes